So it is that, once more, Community fans are left waiting to see if the cult classic show will return next year in an attempt to reach the legendary milestone of ‘six seasons and a movie’. With the meta-comedy now frantically close to its target (and only 3 episodes shy of 100), it would be a desperate shame if NBC pulled the plug, even with ratings flagging and two main cast members missing.
Season 5 was a fantastic return to form after the Dan Harmon-less Season 4, the so-called ‘gas-leak’ year. Donald Glover’s departure, though perhaps removing some of the fantastic one-liners that drove many of the earlier series, was incredibly well handled and the presence of Jonathan Banks and a reinstated John Oliver very much made up for Troy-shaped hole in our hearts.
It was a tour-de-force season for Harmon. Plots and framing devices were either recycled effectively (in the case of both the Dungeons and Dragons ‘sequel’ or the second ‘bottle episode’ set almost exclusively in the study room). That said, as many may grasp from reading this review, with its various references, this was a series that was never destined to win over new fans. Even the season premiere was a direct parody of the pilot, using the near-exact same episode structure as it did four and a half years ago.
That’s not to say there was not innovation – the Russo Brothers (of Captain America: The Winter Soldier fame) did some incredible cinematography in their directed episode, and the Meow-meow Beanz episode proved that Community still had the capacity for biting social satire and risked omitting a few gags for the sake of a more resonant message. Even if we do never get to the fabled six seasons and a movie, at least the show ended on a magnificent high.
PHOTO/ Keith McDuffee